The Hong Kong government has denied reports that it was studying the possibility of declaring a curfew, as protests against the city’s extradition law show little sign of abating.

Local pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily carried a front-page report on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources as saying that the government was studying plans to ban protests. This included invoking section 17E of the Public Order Ordinance to prohibit public gatherings for up to three months.

However, the Security Bureau denied the report on Tuesday afternoon.

Photo: May James.

“With regard to public processions and meetings, the Government will continue to follow the existing mechanism requiring notification to the police and the Letter of No Objection. Apart from this, the Government has no other plans,” a spokesperson said.

It came after anti-extradition law protests in Sheung Shui and Sha Tin earlier this month escalated into clashes between protesters and police.

Mall under pressure

Meanwhile, the management of a Sha Tin mall are under pressure after Sunday’s skirmishes resulted in over 40 arrests and nearly two dozen injuries.

On Monday night, more than 100 people surrounded New Town Plaza’s concierge for hours, demanding a meeting with the management to explain why police were allowed to enter the premises. Two staff members were seen bringing riot police through the mall’s atrium, according to clips shared online.

Staff of New Town Plaza leading the police in the mall to arrest protestors (Source: FB) from r/HongKong

Sun Hung Kai Properties, which runs the mall, said its public passageways must be kept open at all times under its lease.

“SHKP stresses that the Group had no prior knowledge of the police operation [on Sunday] evening inside the shopping mall, nor the suspension of railway services, which made it difficult for people inside the shopping mall to leave in an orderly fashion,” it said.

“SHKP deeply regrets that the incident had caused a number of injuries in the shopping mall, as well as the inconvenience caused to customers, visitors and tenants.”

The extradition bill would allow the city to handle case-by-case fugitive transfers to jurisdictions with no prior arrangements, including China. Critics have said residents would be at risk of extradition to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections. Large-scale demonstrations have rocked the city since June, have evolved into protests over democracy, alleged police brutality and other community grievances. Chief Executive Carrie Lam declared the bill “dead” last week, but did not enact any mechanism to withdraw it, or agree to other demands.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.